Research profile

Research Activities in biochemistry 

Living cells depend on regulated gene expression, which in turn depends on recognition of specific promoter sequences by gene specific transcription factors. Gene regulatory networks describe how transcription factors associate with downstream target genes. These networks can be expanded to describe the complex links with upstream regulators and between numerous proteins. The understanding of how living organisms function depends on unraveling of these biological networks. The overall objective of the research in our group is to increase the understanding of specific networks. In particular, we investigate how cells react to stress exposure at the molecular level, and how molecular structure is important to these reactions. Currently, we investigate the following:

  • How do stress-associated transcription factors target specific genes, and what are the target genes of importance to stress responses?
  • How do stress-associated members of the NAC transcription factor family interact with other proteins, and how do these interactions lead to agonistic and antagonistic cooperation?
  • How does protein intrinsic disorder contribute to regulatory interactions of stress-associated transcription factors, and how can knowledge about protein intrinsic disorder obtained in vitro be translated to the in vivo organismal level?

Methods used

Quantitative real-time PCR, applied bioinformatics, chromatin immunoprecipitation, protein binding microarrays, protein production and purification, biochemical assays, fluorescence and circular dicroism spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry and transgenic complementation.

Research Activities in didactics 

We investigate different problems of conceptual understanding that students have in biochemistry, and we experiment with new teaching styles to improve this understanding. This includes development of virtual exercises - not to eliminate hands-on lab experiences in biochemistry, but either as preparation for lab work or as a supplement to theoretical exposition and exercises.

Collaborators

Birthe Kragelund, Dept. Biology: Structure determination

Per Gregersen, University of Aarhus: Crop NAC transcription factors

Fred de Masi, Technical University of Denmark: Protein binding microarrays

Genevieve Thon, Dept. Biology: Yeast protein structure function

Klaas Vandepoele, Gent University: Bioinformatics

Leila Lo Leggio, Dept. Chemistry: NAC transcription factors

Martin Willemoes, Dept. Biology: Calorimetry

Michael May, Dept. Science Education: Didactics

Tamo Fukamizo, Kinki University: Chitinases